Ontario Parks are some of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding. Many of these provincial parks are located around lakes, rivers, and on four of the five Great Lakes. One of the top parks for paddleboarding is Sandbanks Provincial Park. Sandbanks sits on the north side of Lake Ontario, in the idyllic Prince Edward County which juts down into the lake. Sandbanks is a great place for a day trip, but with a river, two lakes, three sandy beaches, and Lake O, you’ll definitely want to pack all your boards and camp for the weekend!
Here is our guide to paddleboarding in Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Pitch your tent at the Outlet River Campground and walk your SUP board right down to Outlet Beach. Depending on the winds, the crystal clear waters can be the perfect spot to chill on a super stable board while admiring the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, or surf the Lake Ontario waves on a SUP surf. Be sure to watch the forecast! A strong west wind will definitely produce some swell; choose a board with decent volume for the freshwater waves. On flat days, walk your board closer to the beach, as the water within 400m of Outlet Beach’s shoreline is a designated swimming area and can get very busy.
Photo : Jordan-na Belle-Isle
Connecting Lake Ontario and East Lake is Outlet River, a narrow, sheltered stretch of water that is almost guaranteed to be perfectly flat. You can park right near the launch site at the Wood Yard & Rentals, making it ideal if you’re bringing a hard board. The easy 2km trip north up Outlet River takes you through the cattail marshes, with plenty of opportunities to spot fish, turtles, herons, and more. Crossing under Country Rd 18 brings you out of the park boundaries, past private campsites and cabins, and out to East Lake. Casual cruisers will want to turn back, but adventurous paddlers can continue onto East Lake, exploring the 20 km shoreline with wetlands that are home to many species of birds.
Photo : Diana Lee
Recommended Boards: Blend into nature with the Root Collection hardboards if you’re staying on the river. Grab your best touring board, like the Kazuzu 12’6, if you’re doing the full Outlet River and East Lake trip.
Local Tip: Hungry? Check out Currah’s Dunes Grill & Patio, located right in the park. It’s a great place to grab some post-paddle lunch or ice cream.
West Lake is protected by a long spit of land from Sandbanks all the way north to Wellington. Launching at Dunes Beach is ideal, as there is a large parking lot and washrooms. Depending where you park, it can be a bit of a walk to the shoreline, so grab your lightest board. It’s worth the effort as you’ll get the best views of the world’s largest baymount barrier dune from the water! Follow along the southwest shore; you’ll want to take plenty of breaks to admire and hike the dunes. It’s also a great spot to find your own little private stretch of sand for a snack, nap, or dip into the cool waters. If you want the full West Lake experience, navigate the circumference of the lake but be warned; it is a 30 km trip! Pack plenty of water, food, and sunscreen.
Photo : Jordan-na Belle-Isle
Recommended Boards: The portability of an inflatable SUP is your friend. Grab the Nano Zip Air, light and great for navigating shallow waters near shore with its dual fins. The inflatable Kazuzu is ideal for longer journeys around West Lake.
Photos : Jordan-na Belle-Isle
Local Tip: For day visits, it is worth reserving your day pass ahead of time to guarantee entry as Sandbanks is a very popular park. Day passes can be booked up to 5 days in advance.